Latvia's budget okayed by cabinet

The cabinet of ministers on October 10 approved the budget prepared by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, paving the way for it to be sent to Saeima on October 11.

As previously reported by LSM, the budget foresees expenditure of 8.95 billion euros and revenues of 8.75 billion euros.

If the Finance Ministry's math turns out to be accurate, government spending should be 625 million euros up on 2017's total.

That includes an increase of 478.8 million euros was for the financing of 'core national functions', including 40.8 million for capital expenditure.

It is one of the most ambitious budgets of recent years, encompassing numerous major changes to the tax regime.

"A fairer tax system will make a significant contribution to consolidating Latvia's society. What will the inhabitants of Latvia get? Revenue will be higher for workers, pensioners and families. There will be reduced income inequality in society. Companies will grow stronger and the shadow economy will shrink. The tax reform is a historic step towards a stronger and more competitive Latvian economy," said Reizniece-Ozola introducing the plan to her ministerial colleagues.

"The state budget for the year 2018 is a health promotion budget. The cabinet of ministers has approved this bill, identifying healthcare, demographic measures and state security as the most important priorities. Next year, more than €235 million more will be allocated to healthcare, which historically will provide financing for the sector of over one billion euros for the first time," she added. 

After receiving all the proposals Wednesday, Saeima will have several weeks to digest the contents, with debates and passing of the budget expected to take place towards the end of November.

The debate is usually characterized by a lengthy final session.

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